Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Escapement Escapism

As a bizarrely mild Autumn falls on Edinburgh, I find myself in a mainly comforting routine. Helen and I have had the house to ourselves for a few weeks now, and the only things keeping us apart are the amount of work she brings home, and the unsocial hours I am working, despite being embarrassingly unoccupied during the working day.

I've managed to keep the momentum going after the half marathon, and apply the lessons learned, such as training outdoors (well, once), and not wearing garments liable to chafe. I feel happy to wake up and go and run each morning, accompanied by some terrific audio drama. In order to keep my hand, and more pertinently, my feet, in, I've entered the Edinburgh Great Winter run, a swift 5km around Arthur's Seat in January, and having failed to get into the Linlinthgow 10k this weekend, have entered a more local event, the Hopetoun House 10k, not for from where I used to work in South Queensferry. Training's going well - I can comfortably do 5k at 12 km/h and 10k and 10 km/h and will try and reach a level that combines these before the day. My right knee is telling me I need to fix my orthotic insole - it seems that even the book-leather thick covering that slid off a few weeks ago is critical to my equilibrium.

There was a very comforting coincidence this week - the two audios I'm listening to in a sandwich are Doctor Who's The Evil of the Daleks (the latest in my chronological attempt to experience all of 1960s Doctor Who in 2006) and the latest Sapphire and Steel, The Surest Poison. Completely by accident, both concern the present day and the past being linked by antique artefacts, and arcane methods of time travel. Vintage clocks play a part in both, and I was wonderfully reminded of the days of my youth spent repeatedly absorbing Liverpool Museum. I love city museums because they harbour an eclectic, anachronistic mix of exhibits, and wandering between the Egypian, Roman, natural history, or industrial revolution galleries evoked the same sense of wonder as Sapphire and Steel's exploration of fractured times, or Doctor Who's jackdaw meanderings. Best of all the top floor at Liverpool held the planetarium, literally and metaphorically the apex of the visit for me, and the horological collection. The city's maritime past made timekeeping specially significant, and I revelled in such specifc terms such as 'escapement', as well as the presence of more running timepieces gathered together than I had ever seen before. I always left with the horizons of my imagination broadened in both space and time.

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